CLEVELAND — A Cleveland couple has created an organization to help keep youth in the area away from gang activity.
The reNOUNce deNOUNce Gang Intervention Program was founded by Laron and Angela Douglas five years ago while Laron was in prison.
The 10-week program takes at-risk youth ages 12 to 17 who are in gangs or who might be subjected to joining a gang and teaches them their worth as productive citizens.
Reggie Rucker, a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns during the Kardiac Kids era, is a part of the program, speaking to the youth involved.
“I wanted to let them know that what you’re heading for is a long, long prison sentence, or death,” Rucker said.
Alumni of the program, Nathan Hill, said that Leron Douglas became the male figure he needed in this life because he never met his dad.
“He’d been in jail my whole life so I never really talked to him, met him. We had no contact,” Hill said. “Mr. Douglas is somebody I can go to convene, like talk to about anything and he will keep it raw, uncut. He’s not going to sugarcoat it or beat around the bush.”
Before Hill joined the program, he said he dropped out of school and was spending more and more times on the streets. After he graduated from the program, Hill went to Remington College for H-VAC and now holds two jobs.
Angela Douglas, the Program Administrator, website developer and teacher has been a consultant for the Board of Elections and has taught in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and other surrounding suburbs.
The couple is working to secure a permanent location that acts as a safe haven for the youth involved in the program. They also are working to get a van to help transport the youth to and from the program, and to deliver food to families in need.
Information on how to donate to the reNOUNce deNOUNce Gang Intervention Program can be found here.